As a child, hearing mom tell us that company's coming was always a double edged message. "Company" pointed to a happy time that included laughter, gifts, surprises, and things that disrupted our humdrum, Pennsylvania steel town existence. It meant that someone, or a group would shortly interpose upon the life of our family. Now, while there were family members who visited on a regular basis, and this is in no means to diminish them, they weren't company. Company, were Family who lived out of state, or the aunt & uncle who were visiting from Ireland. These constituted company, and was a time for excitement.
When our mom's declared company is coming, that statement rarely ended is a period, it ended in a semicolon where the following statement went something like "and this house is a mess!" In our minds, mom was violating a chorus of child labor laws as we were suddenly picking up our toys, cleaning our rooms, sweeping floors or other monumental labors. All the while, mom took on her own chores. In the end, the house sparkled, company came, and a good time was held by all.
Throughout the Old Testament, the Prophets pointed to the promised Messiah, yet no voice was clearer than than those of the Prophet's Isaiah and Micah who even declared the place where the Messiah would be born. Throughout, they exhorted the people of Israel to prepare themselves to welcome their coming King. This King did come on a silent night, witnessed by few. Yet, this King promised to return and that return will be seen by all. Each Sunday, we declare this when we proclaim the Mystery of Faith:
Christ has died,
Christ has risen,
Christ will come again!
Today in this Advent season, God's people, like Israel, are called to a time of preparation and examination. As we commemorate our Lord's first coming, we watch, wait and prepare ourselves for that moment when He will come again. Are we ready for our King's return? This brief season gives us a time not only for self-examination, but moments for repentance and setting our houses in order, that we might welcome this eternal guest.